Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

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LMG
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Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby LMG » 06 Mar 2024, 19:06

We did the debut album recently in a PSL.

This reminded me what a great band this is and how much enjoyment I have had from their records, associated books, and the single live show I saw 20 years ago.

BÖC will soon release what has been announced as their last studio album, Ghost Stories. *sigh*

https://www.loudersound.com/news/blue-o ... st-stories

BCB has discussed these guys a few times on nice threads:

https://bcb-board.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopi ... 5#p3594220
https://bcb-board.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopi ... 1&t=113374
https://bcb-board.co.uk/phpBB2//viewtop ... =1&t=79147

And last night:

Matt Wilson wrote:
C wrote:
Matt Wilson wrote:I read a book about these guys by Martin Popoff, a Canadian metal writer. He went into the lyrics a great deal. But wouldn't you know it - I can't recall too much of what he said.


Mwhahaha!

Are the lyrics that important?

.


Depends on how you look at it I guess. They were kind've a thinking man's hard rock band. There's a whole back story of the Imaginos story where they parceled out songs which dealt with this narrative for years before finally making an album about it in the late '80s.


Matt Wilson wrote:If anyone's interested, Discogs has plenty of copies of the complete Columbia albums box.

https://www.discogs.com/master/2699447- ... cti%C3%B6n

https://www.discogs.com/sell/list?maste ... 9447&ev=mb


That Columbia Albums box is well worth having. Looking forward to the 'new' album next month - it seems to be some decades-old tracks stripped back and rebuilt. Although like several of the projects, at first inkling Ghost Stories seems a puzzling album. I will belay judgement on it until I hear it.

It reminds me of the misunderstood Imaginos project from 1988 mentioned by Matt. This originated as a one-off project by ex-member Albert Bouchard but found release under the band's name.

https://thequietus.com/articles/12881-b ... nniversary

As the 70s progressed, the band sought to break free from Sandy Pearlman’s influence. Despite having already recorded and released several songs whose lyrical themes were drawn from the Soft Doctrines, they became increasingly resistant to the idea of recording a full-blown concept album. Aside from key songwriter Albert Bouchard, whose enthusiasm for the project only intensified.

In the early 80s, Pearlman and Bouchard (who by then had left BÖC) commenced work on an album intended to gather this fragmented mythology into a concentrated whole, employing session musicians to fill in the blanks. BÖC, meanwhile, failed to build on the resurgence of 1981’s Fire Of Unknown Origin and entered a period of commercial and critical exile. In 1984, CBS rejected what was essentially a Bouchard solo project and Imaginos lay dormant for another two years. When Blue Öyster Cult’s ill-starred (but intermittently terrific) 1985 album Club Ninja failed to justify the time and expense involved in its creation, the band ground to a halt. Sensing an opportunity, Pearlman re-pitched Imaginos to CBS as a BÖC release and secured a modest budget to complete the recordings - without Bouchard. In 1988 the album was issued bearing the distinctive alchemical insignia of the “doyens of punk mysterioso”. The original line-up were credited on the sleeve alongside a lengthy list of hired hands and guest contributors including Joe Satriani and Robbie Krieger of The Doors. The sleeve art, a gloriously atmospheric shot of San Francisco’s Cliff House Hotel circa 1900, harked back to the black and white trilogy of 71-74.
Last edited by LMG on 07 Mar 2024, 17:28, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby LMG » 06 Mar 2024, 19:33

The Columbia Albums Collection has their first eleven studio albums, three live albums, a live/studios and rarities disc, a live DVD, and a disc of live recordings taken mainly from shows recorded for FM broadcast in the US.

The box came out in 2012 and sold out. Initially there was a download card for four complete shows featured on the Broadcasts CD. But there were problems with the website, and the eventual reissue excluded the download option. The shows should still be available elsewhere, however.

In the time between 2012 and the reissue, the boxed set was going for hundreds. Now as noted above it is a much more sensible price.

Alternately you can score this:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Treatie ... KJNS&psc=1

That was an earlier boxed set that included the first four studio albums on CD, remastered and with liner notes and copious bonus tracks - in fact, these comprise over an additional album's worth of material, much of it excellent.

The advantage there is that the cost is much less, and the CD booklets are not reproduced in the later 2012 box, which houses the CDs in cardboard replica sleeves.

I have played each of these boxed sets FAR more than I had imagined when I first acquired them. Even the lesser albums have some interesting and winning material on them.

And the early years 1971-75 when they were of the Steppenwolf/Iron Butterfly/MC5/Alice Cooper ilk but also so distinct - these are just amazing

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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby Matt Wilson » 07 Mar 2024, 03:42

Yeah, I'll echo what Chris said - a great band that somehow has slipped through the cracks over the years. The first four albums are excellent, with far more hit than miss tracks. On Your Feet or On Your Knees fits right in with those early black-and-white cover LPs in terms of quality. That's everything from '72 - '75. The band probably reached a peak with 1974's Secret Treaties, but really all those records are great from those years.

Agents of Fortune was the big seller, with the immortal "Don't Fear the Reaper in '76, and it's still a fine a album. Next year's Spectres continued the hit streak, with "Godzilla" receiving substantial FM exposure in the States. Mirrors finished out the decade after a second decent live LP, Some Enchanted Evening. Both efforts have good material, but aren't quite in the same league as earlier recordings. Some Enchanted Evening was the first B.O.C. album I ever bought, and I even sent away for the lyrics - and they sent me the words to all of the earlier records as well.

The '80s started off well with Cultosaurus Erectus and Fire of Unknown Origin, both strong offerings harkening back to their early/mid '70s prime with even a second top-40 hit in "Burnin' for You" from the latter album. Their golden era (1972 - 1982) ends with a third in-concert LP, Extraterrestrial Live, neither better nor worse than the last live one.

Unfortunately, after that you have to select the good stuff from their remaining Columbia records. There's maybe two-three tracks which I like from 1983's The Revolution by Night, but the rest is forgettable. Club Ninja is almost unlistenable to these ears, and when they finally got around to releasing 1988's Imaginos, too many guest musicians robbed the project of a real Blue Oyster Cult feel. There are still fans who love the album though.

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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby GoogaMooga » 07 Mar 2024, 05:42

I have the single edit of their signature hit, "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" on a V.A., but I am getting rid of it now, because the rest of the tracks by the other artists on that CD are a mixed bag.

Really, my impression is that the soft rock "Reaper" hit was an anomaly in their catalog, and not characteristic of their normal sound?

At any rate, it now joins "You're My Best Friend" by Queen as one of the tracks that need a proper "home" for me. ;)

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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby Swiftie » 07 Mar 2024, 13:11

A very enjoyable PSL and as previously stated I have four of their albums - all of which I enjoy

However, at the time BÖC slipped under my radar. Correct me if I am wrong but they barely scratched the surface here in Blighty

Undoubtedly bigger across the Pond.

A correct judgement...?




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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby robertff » 07 Mar 2024, 14:24

C wrote:A very enjoyable PSL and as previously stated I have four of their albums - all of which I enjoy

However, at the time BÖC slipped under my radar. Correct me if I am wrong but they barely scratched the surface here in Blighty

Undoubtedly bigger across the Pond.

A correct judgement...?

.



Apart from Reaper, just as you say C.



I've got quite a few of their albums (11, just counted them) but rarely play them, they don't do a lot for me. The thinking man's heavy metal group apparently.

Can't believe I've got so many albums by them - all bought very cheaply at boot fairs and the like.


I'll put one on now to see why it is I don't play them much.


.

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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby copehead » 07 Mar 2024, 14:58

LMG wrote:We did the debut album recently in a PSL.

This reminded me what a great band this is and how much enjoyment I have had from their records, associated books, and the single live show I saw 30 years ago.



One of my all time favourite bands.

Saw them live about 18 months ago, well Bloom and Roeser and that's enough for me to be happy.

Still a cracking live act.

Secret Treaties is one of my favourite albums but that, Agents of Fortune, Cultosaurus Erectus and Fire of Unknown Origin are all killer albums with barely a duff track between them.

Not sure why I got into the them other than my mate Bod shop lifting the album from a little shop in Beaumaris and deciding he didn't want it and selling it to me for peanuts.

Currently reading the two Popoff books, they writing style is a little student paper rock correspondent but I will press on.

They are a weird mix of the very cool- mates with MC5 and Patti Smith, on the cover of issue 1 of Sniffing Glue, Julian Cope seal of approval for their more psycherock stuff - and the incredibly naff - MOR heavy rotation for a lot of their more famous singles like Don't Fear the Reaper, Godzilla and Fire of Unknown Origin - although I love that side of them too.

Who can't love a band with lyrics like - Me262 it's a German Jet, a Junkers Jumo 004 ?
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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby Rayge » 07 Mar 2024, 15:10

I agree with Matt (hold the front page ! :) ) that the first four albums were the business, although I stayed with them up to Fire of Unknown Origin,and also bought, and was disappointed by, Imaginos (although disappointment recently mitigated by selling it on on discogs for forty quid or so).Secret treaties was my gateway, and I more or less immediately ordered the first two on the strenght of that, and bough on release thereafter. Tyrrany and Mutation and OYFOOYK got the most plays in the 70s and 80s, raw excitement. I was much taken with Sandy Pearlman as a producer, also gobbled up albums by the Dictators and Pavlov's Dog.
In the 1990s, though, those early abums lost their oomph factor. Buck Dharma's solos, so much part of the band's appeal, just seem tame and restrained compared to the punk and metal guitarists and shredders of the time. I haven't listened to any of the albums (all of which I've sold on in the last decade) this century.
One title they are unlikely to lose anytime soon though, is that of the shortest rock band (adult males). Alan Lanier was 5'8", and towered over the other four guys
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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby Matt Wilson » 07 Mar 2024, 16:37

Rayge wrote:I agree with Matt (hold the front page ! :) )


Damn, Ray. And all this time I thought you and I had a special bond.

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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby LMG » 07 Mar 2024, 18:44

C wrote:A very enjoyable PSL and as previously stated I have four of their albums - all of which I enjoy

However, at the time BÖC slipped under my radar. Correct me if I am wrong but they barely scratched the surface here in Blighty

Undoubtedly bigger across the Pond.

A correct judgement...?




.


A gentle and partial correction, Skipper.

In the early years, BÖC had true cult appeal in the UK. The NME was in particular a booster of the band, selecting Secret Treaties for a Best of 1974 feature.

Then from Agents Of Fortune and throughout the band's commercial heyday, albums charted for the most part in the UK top 20 or 30, sometimes higher than they did in the USA. Cultösaurus Erectus made it to the UK number 12 position in 1980.

During this run of six studio and two live albums which all charted in the UK, Blue Öyster Cult regularly played the Hammersmith Odeon. As well as playing in Manchester, Leeds, Brighton, Cardiff, they rocked Hammersmith eight times in total 1978-85, including a run of four consecutive nights in November 1979.

Incidentally, speculation surrounds these UK shows over which might have been attended by BÖC überfan and Harry Potter author J K Rowling.

Image
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She wrote a detective novel, Career Of Evil, in her Cormorant Stark series which appeared under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Career of Evil makes extensive use of the band's album titles and lyrics, and includes frontman Eric Bloom in a cameo/flashback appearance. J K Rowling sent autographed and dedicated copies of the book to all living members of the band, past and present.

https://www.wbur.org/news/2015/12/15/bl ... lt-rowling

Set in London (in fact, partially in Catford round the corner from me), the novel is a damn good read which adds to the literary element of the band's mythology.

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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby LMG » 07 Mar 2024, 19:17

GoogaMooga wrote:I have the single edit of their signature hit, "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" on a V.A., but I am getting rid of it now, because the rest of the tracks by the other artists on that CD are a mixed bag.

Really, my impression is that the soft rock "Reaper" hit was an anomaly in their catalog, and not characteristic of their normal sound?

At any rate, it now joins "You're My Best Friend" by Queen as one of the tracks that need a proper "home" for me. ;)

Image


Googs, Blue Öyster Cult have a widely varied sound that has encompassed hard rock of the early seventies with a sound more like Steppenwolf or the MC5. Some of their material was designed to be AM radio friendly, and some of the more recent songs pay homage to Metallica (who in turn have covered BÖC's early song 'Astronomy').

Throughout, the band has every so often found a place for more wistful tunes, these might be written by 'Reaper' author Donald Roeser, the band's second singer and lead guitarist.

This 1998 song, since then a live favourite, is an example:



I would say that song is fairly obviously by the same band/singer as 'Reaper', without merely being a retread.

Another wistful tune is this ballad of lost love written by Allen Lanier about how touring kept him from his girlfriend Patti Smith:


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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby Neil Jung » 07 Mar 2024, 23:13

Just counted. I have 12 of their albums, including Club Ninja, which I didn’t know I owned! I even have Buck’s solo album.
I saw them live in Cardiff on the Spectres tour, with a migraine. Also saw them at the Hammersmith Odeon. I don’t do heavy metal but I do love Blue Oyster Cult.
And as Chris posted the other night, the Stalk Forrest Group album featuring Buck is well worth having.
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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby Swiftie » 08 Mar 2024, 13:41

LMG wrote:
C wrote:A very enjoyable PSL and as previously stated I have four of their albums - all of which I enjoy

However, at the time BÖC slipped under my radar. Correct me if I am wrong but they barely scratched the surface here in Blighty

Undoubtedly bigger across the Pond.

A correct judgement...?




.


A gentle and partial correction, Skipper.

In the early years, BÖC had true cult appeal in the UK. The NME was in particular a booster of the band, selecting Secret Treaties for a Best of 1974 feature.

Then from Agents Of Fortune and throughout the band's commercial heyday, albums charted for the most part in the UK top 20 or 30, sometimes higher than they did in the USA. Cultösaurus Erectus made it to the UK number 12 position in 1980.

During this run of six studio and two live albums which all charted in the UK, Blue Öyster Cult regularly played the Hammersmith Odeon. As well as playing in Manchester, Leeds, Brighton, Cardiff, they rocked Hammersmith eight times in total 1978-85, including a run of four consecutive nights in November 1979.


Thanks for the correction Chris

Perhaps I was too buried in Gentle Giant, Soft Machine and Jethro Tull to notice…

I can honestly say that nobody I knew at the time had a single album from these lads

Nay, they didn’t






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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby Swiftie » 08 Mar 2024, 13:45

Neil Jung wrote:Just counted. I have 12 of their albums


Bloody ‘ell.

And there was me thinking you were a lightweight





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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby Swiftie » 08 Mar 2024, 13:56

“I’d like to do it to your daughter on a dirt road….”


[A very good album]




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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby Six String » 08 Mar 2024, 16:09

I bought their first two albums around the time of release and even though I loved them I never followed them up with more though I certainly heard the first four or five through friends. Supremely talented musicians and interesting lyrics that were unlike other bands. I don’t own either one anymore as I think they were lost in the flood of ‘90.
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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby GoogaMooga » 09 Mar 2024, 09:24

Well, I like what I am hearing in the "Harvest Moon" track, quite extraordinary that a long-lived band should come up with something that good so late in the game. Could be that BOC are metal for people who don't normally like metal?
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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby Matt Wilson » 09 Mar 2024, 16:10

They're not really metal.

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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby GoogaMooga » 09 Mar 2024, 16:41

Matt Wilson wrote:They're not really metal.


Hard rock with metal iconography?
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Re: Blue Öyster Cult - An Appreciation

Postby Mike Boom » 09 Mar 2024, 18:35

Hard rock with little metally bits around the edges?


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